Report on the Implementation of the 2018 Plan for National Economic and Social Development and on the 2019 Draft Plan for National Economic and Social Development
Delivered at the Second Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress on March 5, 2019
National Development and Reform Commission
The National Development and Reform Commission has been entrusted by the State Council to deliver this report on the implementation of the 2018 plan and on the 2019 draft plan for national economic and social development to the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) for your deliberation. It also invites comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Implementation of the 2018 Plan for National Economic and Social Development
In 2018, we were confronted with a complex and volatile environment internationally and formidable tasks in promoting reform, development, and stability at home. Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, all regions and departments fully implemented the guiding principles of the 19th CPC National Congress and the second and third plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee. We strengthened our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment; increased our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and resolutely upheld General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely upheld the Party Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership.
In accordance with the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we pursued coordinated implementation of the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy. We stayed committed to the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, followed the new development philosophy, fulfilled the requirement for high-quality development, and took supply-side structural reform as our main task. We implemented the Report on the Work of the Government and the 2018 Plan for National Economic and Social Development approved at the First Session of the 13th NPC, and adopted the suggestions from the review of the 2018 Plan by the NPC Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, as well as those put forth at the 13th NPC Standing Committee’s Seventh Session regarding the midterm assessment report on the implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
We focused on promoting market-oriented reforms and high-standard opening-up, worked hard to develop a modernized economy, and delivered solid progress in the critical battles against potential risk, poverty, and pollution. We responded effectively to major changes in the external environment, and took coordinated steps to achieve steady growth, advance reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, and guard against risk. We worked to ensure stability in employment, financial operations, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment, and expectations. The economy maintained general stability and registered good progress, the main targets and tasks in economic and social development for the year were accomplished, and implementation of the 2018 Plan was successful overall.
1. We employed new and improved methods of macro regulation and ensured major economic indicators stayed within an appropriate range.
We gave better play to the guiding role of national development plans to ensure continuity and stability between macroeconomic policies. We refrained from resorting to a deluge of strong stimulus policies. Instead, we strengthened targeted, precision, and well-timed regulation on the basis of range-based regulation. We took proactive measures to carry out anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, strengthened coordination between macroeconomic policies, and better managed expectations. We appropriately handled economic and trade friction between China and the US. With these efforts, we were able to maintain stable and sound economic development.
1) Macro-regulation targets were achieved.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 90.03 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.6%, which was in line with the projected target. We implemented a more proactive employment policy, and established a sound emergency response mechanism to keep employment stable. More jobs were created through innovation and business startups. A total of 13.61 million urban jobs were added over the year, and the survey-based urban unemployment rate was kept at a relatively low level of about 5%. For prices we strengthened monitoring, analysis, early warning, and regulation, and ensured market supply and price levels remained stable. The consumer price index (CPI) registered a moderate rise of 2.1% for the year. A basic equilibrium was kept in the balance of payments and foreign exchange reserves were stable at over US$ 3 trillion.
2) Fiscal and financial indicators were stable.
We implemented a proactive fiscal policy with greater intensity and enhanced its performance. Further steps were taken to cut taxes and fees, and efforts to improve the composition of government spending continued, to ensure funding for major areas such as the improvement of living standards. Revenue in the general public budget was 18.34 trillion yuan, an increase of 6.2%; expenditure totaled 22.09 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.7%; and the fiscal deficit was 2.38 trillion yuan, the same as the budgeted figure. In monetary policy, a prudent and neutral stance was maintained, and we used policies of differentiated reserve ratios and differentiated credit to guide more funding toward private enterprises and small and micro businesses in the real economy. The national financing guaranty fund was put into operation. At the end of 2018, growth in the balance of the M2 money supply was 8.1%.
3) Investment in areas of weakness continued to increase.
We enabled investment from the central government budget to play a leading role in improving the supply structure. We established a mechanism to strengthen coordination in shoring up infrastructure weaknesses, added to the major project reserve, and coordinated the planning and construction of major infrastructure projects. The length of in-service railways exceeded 131,000 kilometers, including more than 29,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines. The total length of expressways now stands at 143,000 kilometers. To encourage sustainable and healthy private investment, we rolled out a number of attractive projects in sectors like rail, civil aviation, oil and natural gas, and telecommunications, and the public-private partnership (PPP) model was extended to more areas in a well-regulated and orderly way. Total fixed-asset investment (excluding rural households) increased by 5.9%, which includes an 8.7% increase in private investment. There were continuous improvements in the composition of investment, with investment in high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing growing 16.1% and 11.1% respectively.
4) Strong improvements in the quality and scale of consumption were achieved.
The Guidelines on Improving Consumption-Promoting Systems and Mechanisms to Unleash the Potential of Personal Consumption were implemented, along with a three-year action plan. The campaign to create a worry-free atmosphere for consumers yielded further progress and helped improve the consumption environment. We lowered import tariffs on medicines, automobiles, and some non-durable consumer goods, and improved government subsidy policies for promoting the use of new-energy vehicles (NEVs). We improved the supply system for new types of information products at a faster pace and maintained rapid growth in information consumption. We unveiled and put in motion the Implementation Plan on Making Hainan an International Hotspot for Tourism and Shopping and the Action Plan on Improving and Upgrading Rural Tourism (2018-2020). Trials to boost cultural consumption among urban and rural residents continued, over 1,000 key state tourist sites cut their ticket prices, and a national training program was launched in the domestic services sector, thus further unleashing the potential for consumption in relevant areas. Total annual retail sales of consumer goods rose 9%. With a contribution of 76.2% of growth, consumption is playing a much bigger role in driving the economy.